SouthtownStar Athletes on Campus: Nabal Jefferson honored
By Mike Walsh For Sun-Times Media November 2, 2012 7:34PM
Updated: December 5, 2012 6:35AM
Northern Illinois nose guard Nabal Jefferson has been named one of 15 winners of the 2012 National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award, presented by Fidelity Investments, and is a candidate for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy, endowed by HealthSouth, as announced by the National Football Foundation.
Jefferson, who prepped at Marist, is the second Huskie player to win the award in as many years, following quarterback Chandler Harnish in 2011. Northern Illinois is the only school in the country to have a player honored in both years.
The NFF Scholar-Athlete Award is one of the most prestigious in college football as it honors 15 student-athletes whose academic, athletic and leadership abilities rank them as the very best throughout all divisions of NCAA football and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
Jefferson, who carries a 3.78 grade-point average in accountancy, distinguished himself from a nationwide pool of 147 semifinalists. He is one of five defensive players named to the 2012 NFF Scholar-Athlete Class and is one of 10 players from the Football Bowl Subdivision.
A two-year starter who has been in the Huskies’ defensive line rotation every year of his college career, Jefferson will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship and will represent Northern Illinois in New York City at the 55th NFF Annual Awards Dinner on Dec. 4 at the Waldorf-Astoria. That night, one member of the NFF Scholar-Athlete Class will be selected as the recipient of the William V. Campbell Trophy and receive an additional $7,000 as well as a 25-pound bronze trophy.
“I’m extremely excited and proud of Nabal,” NIU coach Dave Doeren said in a statement. “This honor is a well-deserved reward for someone who has overcome a lot of adversity during his life and who has done everything asked of him in every area — on the field, in the classroom and in the community. He has represented himself, his family, his high school, his community and Northern Illinois University in the very best way.
“To have two NIU players selected in back-to-back years from a pool of candidates that includes players from every division of college football says a lot about the type of players we recruit and the development of those players once they arrive on campus.”
Jefferson is the fourth student-athlete from Northern Illinois to be named an NFF Scholar-Athlete. In addition to Harnish, Patrick Stephen (1998) and Josh Haldi (2004) previously earned the honor.
On the field this season, Jefferson headed into the weekend’s action ranked on the Huskies with 40 tackles. He also had 4.5 tackles for six yards in losses, two pass breakups and one sack.
One of the key performers for Washington University (St. Louis) in its 15-3 win over visiting Carnegie Mellon University on Oct. 27 was junior defensive end Nelson Nwumeh, a Homewood-Flossmoor alum.
The Homewood resident had six tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack for the Bears. As a team, Washington limited Carnegie Mellon to a season-low 226 yards of total offense. The Bears finished with nine tackles for loss, five pass breakups, four sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception.